While gravity has its advantages in keeping us balanced and grounded here on Earth, scientists often find that they are at a disadvantage when trying to conduct research under its powerful, pulling influence. In these instances, the scientists prefer performing their studies in the weightless atmosphere of microgravity, where gravity is greatly reduced and solids, liquids, and gases behave differently. In 1993, Paragon Vision Sciences, Inc., of Mesa, Arizona, participated in a research project with NASA's Langley Research Center to perfect a process for developing contact lenses. The project called for three experiments that would fly onboard the Space Shuttle over the course of three separate missions, from 1993 to 1996. By unleashing contact lens materials to the microgravity settings of space, scientists from NASA and Paragon hoped to better understand how polymers - large molecules that make up plastics - are formed.